I hold up the Polaroid. “You knew her.”

“I did,” Dane says. “I was living with my grandparents that summer. My parents thought it would do me some good. I was seventeen and a fuckup and needed to get away from them for a while. So I came here.”

“And met Petra. You’re the reason she snuck out at night.”

A nod from Dane. “We’d meet in the woods behind your house and mess around. It wasn’t anything serious. Just a summer fling.”

He’s moved farther into the room while talking, hoping I won’t notice. I do.

“If it wasn’t serious, why did you kill her?”

“I didn’t,” Dane says. “You have to believe me, Maggie.”

That’s not going to happen. Especially when I recall the way we’d found Petra. Dane pushing on the stained ceiling, testing it. Pushing and pushing until it gave way, which—I now suspect—was exactly what he wanted to happen. I think he knew Petra’s remains would be discovered at some point during the renovation and decided it would look better if he was the one to find them. That way all suspicion would shift to my father.

Dane edges forward again until mere feet separate us.

“Take one more step and I’m calling the police,” I warn.

“You can’t do that, Maggie,” he says. “That’ll send me instantly back to jail. No one will believe me. They’ll just see an ex-con who almost killed a man. I won’t stand a chance.”

“Maybe you don’t deserve one.”

Dane swoops in close. I try to yank my phone from my pocket, but he slaps it out of my hands. It hits the wall and drops to the floor several yards away.

He grips my shoulders, shaking me. “Listen to me, Maggie. You need to pretend you never found out about me and Petra.”

He stares at me with a mean scowl and even meaner eyes. There’s anger in them. A darkness that makes me wonder if it’s the last thing Petra ever saw. I look away, spot the knife I brought with me still on the desk, and reach for it.

Dane sees it, too, and lunges for it.

That’s when I run.

It starts with a push off the desk, followed by a quick arc around Dane. When he comes at me, I shove him in the chest.


He lurches backward into one of the bookshelves, his arms flailing, loose books tumbling around him.

I run.

Down the steps.

Into the second-floor hallway, where I can hear Dane coming after me, his footfalls fast and heavy down the stairs from the third floor.

I keep moving. Breath hard. Heart hammering.

I hit the main staircase at a full run, pounding down it, trying to ignore the sound of Dane barreling across the hallway behind me. And how fast he’s moving. And how he’s surely gaining on me.

He’s also at the stairs now. I hear his boots slam the top step and feel the shimmy of the staircase as he thunders after me.

I up my speed, my eyes on the vestibule and, just beyond it, the front door. In the slice of time it takes to move down the last two steps, I try to gauge if I can make it to that door before Dane catches up to me.

I decide I can’t.

Even if I can get through that door—which is debatable—I’ll still need to elude Dane’s grasp long enough to get off the porch and into my truck.

That’s not enough time. Not with the way he’s storming up behind me.

I change tactics. A split-second decision that, at the bottom of the stairs, jerks me away from the vestibule and into the parlor.

Dane doesn’t break stride as he veers in the same direction, panting my name so hard and so close I feel his breath on the back of my neck.

I ignore him as I propel myself through the parlor and into the Indigo Room.

It’s dark inside.


I need it that way.

There’s just enough light for me to see the hole where a length of floorboards used to be. Even then, a person would need to know it’s there to avoid missing it entirely.

Dane doesn’t.

I skip over the gap in the floor and jerk to a stop before whipping around to face him.

Dane slows but keeps on coming.

One step.


Then he drops, plunging through the hole and vanishing so thoroughly that the only sign he was ever there at all is the sound of his body hitting the kitchen floor far below.


Day 20—After Dark

“We need to leave,” I told Jess. “Right now.”

“Why? What’s going on?”

“Maggie’s not safe here.”

I snatched the camera off the desk, along with two boxes of film. Then I hustled Jess out of the study and down the steps.

“I don’t understand what’s happening,” she said.

We reached the second floor, and I turned around, snapping a picture of the stairs behind us.




“There is a ghost in our house,” I said while waiting for the picture to develop. “Indigo Garson. She’s been making fathers kill their daughters. Curtis Carver didn’t murder Katie. Indigo forced him to do it.”

I thrust the Polaroid at Jess, making sure she saw the figure of Indigo caught hobbling down the steps, the coins over her eyes reflecting the camera’s flash. Jess clamped a hand over her mouth, trying to suppress a scream. It leaked out anyway, squeaking between her fingers.